Throughout more than 12,000 episodes over the course of 25 years, Petri Hawkins Byrd stood by Judy Sheindlin’s side as bailiff on “Judge Judy”.
Now that the show has ended its run, star Judy Sheindlin is moving forward by launching her new IMDb TV series “Judy Justice”.
A new trailer for the upcoming series introduces Sheindlin’s new team, which does not include Byrd; instead, Kevin Rasco is introduced as bailiff.
Fans of the original “Judge Judy” have been taking to social media to express their disappointment that Byrd will no longer be bailiff, and he spoke with Entertainment Weekly to reveal that the reason he’s not a part of “Judy Justice” is because he wasn’t invited.
“My assumption is if you were going on to do something else, that you were at least going to ask me if I wanted to have the opportunity to audition for the role,” Byrd told EW.
According to Byrd, when production wrapped on the final season of “Judge Judy” in April, his focus was on his wife, Makita Bond-Byrd, a “Judge Judy” producer who was scheduled for brain surgery to remove a malignant tumour.
“I didn’t have time to think about or ask about ‘Judy Justice’. It wasn’t until July that I called the judge and asked, ‘Hey, should I look for something else or am I included in the ‘Judy Justice’ project?'” Byrd continued.
“She informed me I was not being asked to come along on the project,” explained Byrd, who had been the “Judge Judy” bailiff since the show’s launch in 1996. “I didn’t inquire as to why, that’s her choice. But she did inform me that fundamentally, I was priced out as the new bailiff on her new show. My salary would have been too much. I was curious: How would she know? She didn’t ask me. She didn’t give me an opportunity to have accepted a lower salary.”
Interestingly enough, Byrd said that his wife was asked to be a part of “Judy Justice”, but was unable to be available because of her health issues. “The call with Judy ended pleasantly enough. I don’t think she understood how confused and dismayed I was after being there for 25 years, from the beginning of her career, and not being at least given the opportunity to say whether or not I wanted to continue that relationship,” he said.
“I’m like if I did something wrong or offended you or brought shame to the show, or if was involved in numerous scandals in the 25 years we were together, I might understand why you didn’t want to bother in the end,” Byrd added. “That’s just the way it went. I just know that God has something else for me.”
In response to Byrd’s interview, a spokesperson for Sheindlin issued the following statement: “Byrd is terrific and we had a great 25-year run. This is a whole new program with a whole new cast and an exciting energy.”